Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012
This Week's News
AMA strives to create stable environment that better serves physicians, patients
Editor's note: This is the third of three Special Features in a series about the AMA's strategic focus areas.
As the nation continues to struggle with soaring health care costs and increasingly weighty disease burdens, the AMA is working to ensure that reforms to care delivery and payment produce the best possible results for physicians and patients.
An AMA initiative to shape delivery and payment models aims to cultivate sustainable physician practices that result in good health outcomes for patients and greater professional satisfaction for physicians. Coupled with two other focus areas in the AMA's new strategic direction—accelerating change in medical education and improving health outcomes—this work will be instrumental in achieving a better future for health care.
"We know that many physicians are dissatisfied with the status quo," said Jay Crosson, MD, the AMA's group vice president of physician satisfaction/care delivery. "To help them adopt care delivery and payment models that will lead to greater satisfaction and practice sustainability, the AMA will provide the data, tools and environment they need to succeed."
The AMA is starting these efforts with in-depth field research. Working with the RAND Corporation, a national nonprofit research institution, the AMA will be looking at a sample of about 30 physician practices over the next few months. Research with the first several practices is already under way.
The sample was carefully selected to represent the diversity of practice sizes, ownership models, specialties, geography, demographics, economics, markets, payers and regulatory environments. In addition to this field work, the AMA will conduct quantitative research with a broad base of physician practices.
By analyzing a wide range of care delivery and payment strategies, the AMA will be positioned to:
- Identify effective models that achieve high-quality patient care and professional satisfaction.
- Share these insights with physicians to help them make informed decisions about their practices.
- Provide tools and resources that enable physicians to adopt models that meet their needs.
The AMA also will use its research findings to change the health care environment in which physicians practice. Specifically, the AMA will work to remove regulatory barriers, change how hospitals view success and level the playing field with health insurers. The AMA expects to publish its initial findings in the summer.
"So much hinges on professional satisfaction and practice sustainability," Dr. Crosson said. "Physician satisfaction has a high correlation with patients' satisfaction and health outcomes. And stable practices can foster high-quality care while providing the access patients need."
Additional details about this AMA initiative will be provided throughout the coming year.
See the Dec. 12 Special Feature for an update on the AMA's work in improving health outcomes and the Dec. 5 Special Feature for information about the AMA's focus on accelerating change in medical education.